Study links workplace bullying to one effect that costs companies billions

Stressed business woman

In a 2001 study, Researcher Judith Richman linked workplace harassment to drinking behaviors. In a multi-wave panel study at an urban university, targets who had more than two years of bullying had a stronger connection to drinking problems.

“These drinking behaviors reflect an attempt by targets to deal with the psychological stress,” say Loraleigh Keashly and Joel H. Neuman in their Employee Rights and Employee Policy Journal article. “Should such drinking continue, job performance and productivity is likely to suffer. For example, some research suggests that sixty billion dollars is lost in annual productivity as a result of alcohol abuse.”

The link isn’t shocking. What’s shocking is the failure of management to address root cause: workplace bullying. It’s far easier to blame a target for a drinking problem than a higher level employee for causing the unnecessary stress in the first place. That negligence to address the actual problem is linked to financial loss.

So why aren’t employers doing anything about workplace bullying?



  1. toriiannbottomley

    Yes. There is a direct correlation between bullying and addictive behaviors. I am very very lucky that my stress relief is sleeping. If I had even participated in recreational drug or alcohol use, it would have surely turned into an addiction and I would have never been able to advocate, find resources, get knocked down and get back up again, over and over. Keep an eye out for fellow targets who may be heading down that road.

  2. jnash56

    It is weak and ineffective management that allows and ignores employee alcohol consumption in an office environment. It is weak and ineffective oversight that IGNORES formal complaints when personnel policies are clearly established for all employee’s safety and the company’s protection from liability. Employees who violate establish alcohol and drug policies should be held fully accountable for the decisions that they make when they consume alcohol in the office. A very toxic, unethical and unprofessional working environment indeed!

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